Knut, traders' lobby oppose rule on books

Thursday December 7 2017

Wilson Sossion

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion speaks during the 13th Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) Annual Delegates Conference at Sheikh Zayed Children Welfare Centre in Mombasa on December 6, 2017. He said the right to choose books should be reverted to teachers. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By WINNIE ATIENO
More by this Author

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Booksellers and Stationers Association have opposed a move by the government to directly supply textbooks to schools next year.

On Monday, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said this is a deliberate move to ensure funds meant for buying textbooks are used well and reduce corruption in procurement.

In the new guidelines, Form One students who report to school between January 9 and January 12 will be issued with six textbooks — for maths, English, chemistry, physics, biology and Kiswahili.

But Knut officials and the booksellers are calling for more consultations.

“Under International Labour Law recommendation number 60 on the intellectual right of teachers, one such right is to choose textbooks to use in class. No none should choose a textbook for you.

"Who is this through national procurement with capacity and intellect to choose one book for all classrooms in the republic of Kenya?” asked Mr Sossion, Knut secretary-general.

He termed the new directive a major scandal in the offing.

The nominated ODM lawmaker said the right to choose books should be reverted to teachers.

“Because of corruption at the Ministry of Education, we have got data and facts on literally everything. Give the teachers the list. The ministry cannot and can never procure. It is not their jurisdiction. To retain professionalism in the teacher it is my right to choose Oxford or KLB to teach my chemistry class,” he said.

The booksellers’  national vice chairman Patrick Matindi urged Dr Matiang’i to give them three years to sell their stock.

“This is witch-hunt. Booksellers are just like any other businessmen.”